Stuff Under the Header

4/15/2014

Changing Methods

Slaix and I had a conversation that involved randomized and deterministic elements in games. I won't go into exactly what we were talking about, but later on when thinking about it, it did remind me of the shift I've had in designing DT3, especially compared to DT1. That being, everything being designed lately has not had any random elements to them. Every action an enemy has is completely deterministic based on it and the player's current state.

Flame Instigator
Thinking back to the Flame Instigator fight in DT1. All his actions were somewhat randomized, but depending on what was happening, certain actions had a much better chance of occuring than others. At the time, I felt that was okay. Had I made that today, there would have been more to his decision making and no random elements would be around.

Death
Looking at Death, he has 3 scythe swings that can be chosen, in a combo of 3. These are chosen at random, which will be changed before the final version is released. I'll instead, set up a table that he cycles through. (Though I will have something set up that will skip or reset the table to keep it from being a set sequence every cycle.) I'm somewhat okay with that random element, given what it is, but in an encounter like Death, I'd like everything to be consistent.

Another random element to Death are where the single spawning scythes appear. They always appear at the top of the screen, with a variance of 16 pixels along the y. For x, they'll appear anywhere randomly within a 32 pixel margin border of the map sides. This will change to always be consistent for the final version. Something like spawning it directly above him, then the next spawn above the player, then the next being the median between the two along x, always near the top of the screen.

The larger scythe summon (where he'd kneel) has always been set in a sequence. The first is on the left, then right, then the top, and it repeats that cycle.

Gate G Boss
I won't be spoiling who/what it is, however the fight has similar elements of the above 2 encounters. I'll be keeping with my current standards of it being 100% deterministic.

4/11/2014

Getting There

The final Gate level for DT3 has been finished! That doesn't mean DT3 is close to being complete (it is, but it isn't), getting there, but there's still quite a bit to do. Unlike DT1, which ended shortly after all the McGuffins were obtained, DT3 has quite a bit more that happens, which I've been referring to as 'End Game'. This takes place over the last 1/4 of the chapters (16-20). Though chapter 16 is a very short event that plays out in a crossover minigame. 17 and 18 have about as much content as chapter 7 (Begonia). 19 and 20 are fairly expansive sections of the game. So... it's getting there.

NZZ did a silly thing with the debug mode. This is 'technically' possible to occur under normal game rules, but would take forever to actually make happen and... well, all that spam.

I've also recently uploaded a video about some of the changes made to the game.

ZephyrBurst: Oh yeah, I'm doing it. I'm putting flashbacks in DT3.
ZephyrBurst: Well sorta.
ZephyrBurst: Towards the end of gate 6, there's a place called 'Dream Woods'.
Slaix223: Oh no.
Slaix223: Make sure to start it off with a flashback of when they entered Dream Woods.

4/01/2014

Final Version

Been keeping a surprise for awhile. DT3 has been complete the last few weeks, but I just wanted to polish it up more before releasing it. Its been quite a thing to make this game and I definitely won't be tackling something so large on my own like this ever again. I enjoyed it though, even if I did go through a few down times with it and had to back away from the project now and then.

One thing to note, your demo save will not be compatible with this version, though I believe I mentioned that way back in the day. Someone is making a trailer for the game and that should be up soon, which is pretty cool of them to do so. Anyway, enjoy the game, things are a lot different this time than they were in the demo.

I said in the past that I would be releasing the project files for all 3 games, this is still true and will happen in a few months. And with that, I am done with the DT series at this point and will not be providing that much support for using the project files. I'll still be updating DT3 as far as bug fixes and all that go though, as I'm sure a few slipped through to the build released today.

You can get it here or in the usual spot on the side.

3/03/2014

Updates For Now

Edit: (3/5/2014) DT1 and DT2 have been updated to fix a few things that DT3 had recently gotten.
- When starting/closing the game (for Windows 7 users) it will no longer flash your monitor black for a moment as if it's trying to reset your display.
- An input bug that would cause you to redo an action after taking damage if the key/button was still held down has been fixed. This was most noticeable in DT2.
- When using F3 to swap window sizes, it will no longer cause full screen to function improperly.

Also the Filefront downloads have been removed completely. Filefront has changed their upload methods and policies and I am no longer using their service. Most of the Filefront links didn't work anyway. I will look into an alternate download source for people that can't connect to dropbox servers. I've been given a tip for google drive and have been thinking about them anyway. That may appear on the side links in the future.

I don't post updates here too much lately. I'd rather not talk too much about what's happening with DT3, plot or gameplay wise on where it's at, cause spoilers. Expect monthly updates instead where I'll do an info dump of stuff.

But before all that, grackles!


Here's “Alexander the Destroyer of Worlds” posing for the camera.

Gate 6 Mobility
The player gets one more mobility based ability during Gate 6 that can be brought outside once the Gate is complete. It's pretty nifty how just one thing changes how the game feels and plays. It had been in the game for some time, but feeling it out in levels that are designed to make use of it shows it's quite a game changer.

I'll spoil it, it's nothing too original. It's a double jump, a proper double jump. No Blast-Off to cover that and yes, you still get your air-dash. Currently, it uses the same recovery logic that air-dashes use as well. This was originally going to be an upgrade to the jump height of the player, but anomaly had convinced me a double jump would be a better alternative mostly due to a height upgrade would throw off what the player had been used to for so long. I had come up with plenty of my own reasons why I liked the idea as well. The big idea for it is to cover more ground vertically. There is a design complication with DT and its vertical shenanegans that I will be covering in a video. The voice quality should be tons better as well. I've been working on projecting my voice better and not speaking so fast. That and Jerry got me a new mic, cause he's seen some of my videos and made fun of me, then said, "You need a new mic, expect one for Christmas!" So that happened. (Quality difference is crazy noticable.)

Money Change
Income in DT3 is an issue. No matter the price of items, it seems it's an issue. The tester that was big on this was NZZ, and he had come up with some ideas of reducing late game farming without making money useless altogether. One thing being a way to get 2x money from enemy drops.

WhattayaBrian had also mentioned these issues to me and suggested a crazy change. His idea was to change wallet upgrades (those things that increase your wallet capacity by 100) to money pickup multipliers and make the wallet capacity a fixed value. To make a tl:dr version of the conversation. I went with his idea as I liked the reasons why and it covered the issues that NZZ was having with income in the game.

I had 20 wallet pickups and decided not to change that value. Each pickup increases money from enemy drops by 10%. So up to 3x money gain. The base coin value in DT3 from greens is 1. That number can't be multiplied by 1.1 very well, so the base coin value was changed to 10. Blues give 50, yellows give 100. Everything else in the game had its current price increased by x10 as well. Items that were once 320 are now 3200. Within the game rules, nothing has changed, simply an extra digit. The new wallet capacity is currently 20000.

So if you have collected 11 of the wallet upgrades(will be name changed), you will be recieving 2.1x(or 105%) more money from each drop you collect. A green(10) will be worth 21, a blue(50) will be worth 105. Bigger numbers means better game!

Slaix223 had this to say about it.
"And in a single update, DT3's economy collapsed."

WhattayaBrian's response to the previous post's quote.
"I saw the post.
I am immortalized."

2/12/2014

Everyone's Favorite Gimmick

Is wind. One of the more prominent Gate 6 locations is a wind level. Wind is fairly hated from what I've seen, aside from raocow, who we all know just absolutely loves wind. For wind, I've found that for it to work and not be frustrating, it needs to be consistent. For my level, I'm allowing the player to have some control over it. In its current iteration, it affects the player a bit more if they're in the air than if they're on the ground. It will never have multiple speeds though. The main thing the player controls is if it blows to the left or right. For parts of it, I'm leaving this up to player preference, but there are places where this will be used for puzzle solving, so one direction may be required at set times. There's a few places where wind blows upward as well, but that's not used as much as the horizontal wind. There are also effects put in place, much like the underwater fans in the demo's chapter 8 mountain dungeon, to let the player know where wind is going to affect them. (The horizontal effect is typically covering an entire map for this area.)

Stuff That Pisses Me Off
A bit of a rant here.

If you're not aware of King.com and what it's doing, you should be. They've been attempting to get a trademark on words such as 'Candy' and 'Saga' so they have no competitors for their products. Won't go into much detail here as the link here and a quick google search can give you all the info you'd need.

http://thebottomline.as.ucsb.edu/2014/02/king-games-candy-crush-saga-copyright-kerfuffle

Other things they've been doing, shown here.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/132196-CandySwipe-Developer-Surrenders-to-King-in-Rage-Filled-Open-Letter

The above should anger you, I understand corporations look after their own interests, but this is way crossing the line. If you're playing anything from this company, you're supporting the enemy.

Other Stuff
Next blog post may be devoted to other games entirely.

In other news, the bottom quote is completely relevant and I said I'd quote it.

"I'd rather play Dark Souls than Ninja Gaiden 2."
-WhattayaBrian

1/30/2014

Streaming Games

Edit: (Jan. 31, 2014) This project just needs a few more supporters on Thunderclap. At the time of this posting, it only needs 5 more and 13 hours to go. It isn't a kickstarter, on Thunderclap, you simply use one of a few social media networks that you're on and if this support page gets to its goal, it will post about the project, Positron specifically in this case, to that network you chose. If you can, that would be great. (I am not directly involved with this project.)

I gotta get some new pictures and/or videos of the birds soon. All this talk of grackles and no media makes for stuff not being as entertaining.

Gate 6 Progress
It's coming along nicely, especially now that I have more feedback from the testers about some of the finer nuances of its mechanics. Some fine tuning will need to be done. There was a thing where, as Claire, you could get 2 attacks in after a parry and get that 3x damage twice if you attacked at just the right time. I was uneasy with this, but left it in to see if any of the testers made comments on it. My thought was, if even one person mentions this feeling weird, the timings of Claire's attack and parry phase will be adjusted to not allow this. I got a comment on this phenomenon that mentioned it felt weird and inconsistent, you know what will soon follow. Another note to make about the Gate, that isn't really a spoiler, is that both characters only get 2 offensive abilities. (And their own version of Guard.) The second ability for each character comes later in the Gate and is set up to be utilized far less than the first that each character obtains. Both of them are fairly indirect methods of attack, though Jerry's has lock-on capabilities. Their use is also fairly limited, which will be immediately noticeable after its first use. There is no cooldown, but something else keeps them from being abused. They also don't benefit from the 3x parry bonus. I think I've gone through 5 iterations for each of them until finding something that I felt was right.

Streaming
I've been toying around with streaming a lot more ever since I got a second monitor, and I've finally found good stream settings for my computer and connection speed. I don't have specific times that I stream, but it's usually in the late evening. There may be times that I call it out on twitter now. If I'm playing a game on my PC, I'll most likely be streaming it, partially because it will be recording as well. I'm typically playing Planetside 2 or Dark Souls. Other games will definitely show up. There are also times when I'm streaming DT3 content to someone for various reasons. If you happen to see that, you may get to sneak a peek at my terrible coding practices. (And more in depth when I release the project file after DT3 is completed.) I can't lock my stream, so yeah. :P
It is here!
http://www.twitch.tv/zephyrburst83

1/23/2014

It Might Snow

Oh man, the birds have finally come back after their winter moving about business. After weeks of absense, they've shown up and immediately demanded, by standing at a fairly close distance, that I feed them. Luckily I always bring food, just in case of days like that where they will suddenly show up again. The birding will soon begin again!

Gate 6 Questions

Question 1
The question that popped up the most after the last blog post was: "Is the parry mandatory in the game?"

There is very rarely ever a case where I'll put in a mechanic that isn't necessary at some point. However, I am trying to make sure that for most scenarios, there are other options. All the non-boss enemy types with shields, even the one that doesn't put the shield to the side when attacking, have other methods the player can use. That said, most other methods are not optimal to parrying, and the beginning of the Gate when the player has very little offensive options, parrying is super useful there. I've made sure that it's not too hard to execute and counter afterward, since the usefulness of the parry is in the counter. There is a boss fight that will require the parry, and Nightmare Gate boss will definitely require it from both characters.

So for the tl:dr answer; yes it is absolutely mandatory, but only in a small number of scenarios.

Question 2
Another question that I thought I had already answered, but I was probably too vague on was: "Is the Gate 6 ability set useable outside of the Gate like the other abilities?"

No, this ability is exclusive to this Gate and its Nightmare counterpart. It doesn't work well alongside the other ability sets, and it was never the intention after the Gate redesign to make it that way. Althrough, there is a mobility based action that is gained within the Gate that is usable outside once the Gate is complete. Since dashing is never usable in Gate 6, the player is given the chance to become familiar with this action without dashing/air dashing.

The other abilities are also not usable inside the Gate even after it's completed. This isn't a technical issue, this is by design. I'm finding that the number of technical limitations I run into that are brought on by my own inability to code something properly, is declining by quite a lot.

And now for a screenshot! Claire may have dealt damage, but at what cost?

Wrong move Claire!